This past Saturday, May 25, was National Missing Children’s Day.
If you have been following my blog in recent days, you know that I was that child. From the age of four to the age of twelve, I was missing. I was on those posters; I was on Unsolved Mysteries; if it were today, my picture would be circulated on Facebook for sure. But then after I was found, I felt more lost than ever, for reasons I’ve written about on this blog.
I remember a few years back I was talking to my brother, and I said to him in frustration that I wish I’d been in counseling for longer when I was a teenager; even though I resisted it and hated it, I really needed it. And he answered, “What could that counselor have done for you? What could anyone have done for you? Nobody knew what to do.” That’s true, and that’s the problem. No one knew what to do for me; nobody knew exactly what I was struggling with or how to help me heal from it, and I had no idea how to ask for help. So during what is just normally a really rough stage for everyone – adolescence – I also struggled with issues of identity, trust, fear, depression, anger – and those struggles continued well into adulthood. There just simply was no one who knew what to do.
But now, that has changed. Now there are people who know what to do. There’s a whole organization of people who are like me, who were taken by a family member away from other family members, and they have worked together with mental health professionals to amass a body of research uniquely relevant to our experiences. From that research was birthed a training program with tools for parents handling abducted children. The organization is called Take Root, and the training program is called Kid Gloves. Now comes the request.
It’s extremely rare for me to ask for money, but I am asking for money. Two hundred thousand children every year are the victims of family strife and are taken into hiding by a family member. If we do the math just from the year I was taken through 2012, that’s 5,400,000 kids.
FIVE MILLION, FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND little boys and little girls like me.
And that’s 5,400,000 kids who carry with them the weight of depression, fear, mistrust — all of the struggles I had and still deal with — but their families and counselors were and are simply ill-equipped to help them heal. A program like Kid Gloves can save years of pain. So, I’m asking you to give a few dollars.
I know, it’s frustrating and annoying when people ask for money, but I would ask you: how much do you spend to get your hair done? How much for your morning coffee on the way to work every day? What about lunch, or a soda every day from the breakroom? What about shoes or ice cream or thrift store shopping just for fun?
And how much have you given this year to help children who are in deep pain?
Two hundred thousand kids every year. They’re dying inside. I’m just asking you to give a little bit. Money’s tight, I know. It might be a sacrifice. But what if it were your kid? It was me, and nobody knew how to help me. But now they do. Please help!
“Finding a missing child is called making a recovery, but being found is really just the very first step on a long and difficult road. It’s often not the happy ending people imagine.”
– Melissa Haviv, Executive Director Take Root